The process of removing a skin cancer along with a margin of healthy tissue surrounding it is called excision. To repair the excision site, stitches or sutures will be necessary. For larger wounds, however, certain techniques may be employed by the surgeons to minimize scarring and facilitate recovery. Reconstructive surgery is one of the supplemental procedures in repairing skin cancers.
Why is it done?
Excision has been proven to work well in removing basal and squamous cell carcinomas, which are signs of the early stages of skin cancer. The rate of success for a standard excision and repair technique shows that over 90% of the patients have responded favorably to the procedure. Scars resulting from the excision of smaller lesions are hardly noticeable. Doctors favor this type of procedure because it is an accessible way of examining the tumor and the surrounding tissue, giving them an idea of whether the cancer has spread or if the entire cancerous mass has been removed. Also, excision repair of skin cancers can be completed in one session, unlike radiation therapy or chemotherapy that will take longer.
What should I expect from excision and repair of skin cancers?
The doctor begins the procedure by marking the suspected tumor to facilitate its removal. The marked area will include a safety margin of healthy tissue that will help the doctors determine if the cancer has spread. An extended line of excision will also be drawn so that the skin could be sutured back together afterwards. Local anesthetic will be administered to the targeted area and the surgeon will proceed to cut along the marked lines. Excision of skin cancers will usually take about half an hour to complete, lesser for smaller lesions. After the malignant growth has been removed, the incision will be closed using stitches. Sometimes if the incision covered a larger area, a skin graft or a flap will be required along with reconstructive surgery to repair scarring on the affected area.
What are the disadvantages of excision and repair of skin cancers?
The main disadvantage of the excision and repair of skin cancers is the scaring that may occur after the procedure, especially for larger incisions. This procedure also calls for the removal of healthy skin around the tumor, which, at times, makes it difficult to put the edges of the resulting wound back together.
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